This is probably my least favorite week of the year. The shorter, darker days that accompany the clocks ‘falling back’ always puts me off a bit. Suddenly it’s dark both coming and going, and it takes me a full week to adjust.
This year, the first dark ride into the office on Monday will be even a bit darker than usual. A year ago November 5, we all lost a friend of the bike. Most of us didn’t know it, and until I picked up a panicked phone-call, I had never heard of Robert Hyndman. But ever since I got the call from Ben Lieberson that somebody had “crashed pretty bad” on what was otherwise a terrific group ride from Santa Monica into the beautiful canyons overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it has been a steady reminder of appreciation.
On a gorgeous route that I myself had done with a group earlier that spring, friends, family and customers rode together as part of the one-anniversary celebration for our partner shop, Bike Effect. When Robert crashed as he was descending Los Flores Canyon Road all feeling of celebration instantly extinguished. By all account it was immediately clear that this accident, this horrible and inexplicable accident was just that, an accident.
A sad reality is that this sport we love, this life we have chosen of the bike, can have real consequence. As fans we have witnessed it in professional racing. Many of us have likely ridden past a white ‘ghost’ bike as we’ve gone through the city. There are ample reminders about how the beauty and tragedy blur.
In talking with Robert’s friends and family since, I have learned how Robert lived and loved the bike. I have been reminded that what we get to do is special. And that the bicycle brings us all so, so much to love about ourselves and all that we encounter.
Be safe out there.